Sarah Colley was born in Centerville, about 50 miles southwest of Nashville. Professionally known as "Minnie Pearl," Sarah Colley appeared at the Grand Ole Opry as an American country comedienne for more than 50 years, and on the television show "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1991.
Pearl's comedy was gentle satire of rural Southern culture, often called "hillbilly" culture. She entertained the music world with Minnie's tales of her fictional hometown, Grinder's Switch, Tennessee, stepping onstage proclaiming "Howdeee! I'm just so proud to be here" in her straw hat adorned with flowers and a $1.98 price tag. The costume she wore on stage, a red-and-white checkered dress, was based on clothes she had picked out from a thrift store.
In reality, she was known as a gracious lady of refinement, hospitality and down-to-earth charm, living down the street from the Tennessee Governor's Mansion and known as a competitive tennis player at the local country club.
Cannon made a cameo appearance in the film "Coal Miner's Daughter," in which she appears at the Opry as her Minnie Pearl character.
She entertained throughout the world for charitable causes and won numerous awards for her numerous contributions to humanity.
In 1975, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and was voted Country Music Woman of the Year in 1996. In 1987, she received the American Cancer Society's Courage Award, and was one of 13 recipients of the National Medal of Art in 1991.
A bronze statue dedicated to Minnie Pearl is displayed in the lobby of the Ryman Auditorium.
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